Payoff Personal Loans Review

Jordan Wathen is a personal finance expert with a deep professional and personal expertise on credit cards. His articles have appeared on sites such as MSN, CNBC, and Yahoo.

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Payoff was founded by Scott Saunders, whose personal experience of being in and out of debt three times motivated him to start a lender that could help people get out of costly credit card debt for good. Founded in 2009, the company has made hundreds of millions of dollars in personal loans to borrowers completely online by identifying borrowers who are serious about eliminating credit card debt forever. In our complete Payoff personal loans review, we’ll explore how Payoff works, how much you can save, and whether you should apply for a Payoff loan to eliminate credit card debt.

Lending Partner Best For Min. Credit Score Loan Amounts APR Range Next Steps


Best For:

Reducing high-interest credit card debt

Min. Credit Score:


Loan Amounts:

$5k - $35k

APR Range:

5.99 - 24.99%

Check Rate

Payoff personal loans review

Payoff is a little different than other online personal loan companies because it is laser-focused on helping people consolidate debt. So, where other lenders will lend you money to fix your car, buy an engagement ring, or pay for moving expenses, Payoff exists almost exclusively for debt consolidation.

Payoff generally works with people who have good income and good credit scores who simply got into trouble with high-interest credit card debt. Studies of loan performance show that personal loans issued to borrowers who use the loan to consolidate debt are most likely to repay the loan on time and in full.

Features of Payoff loans

There are a few features of Payoff that makes it stand out from the many online personal loan companies that are issuing loans today.

  • Low APRs -- Payoff requires its borrowers to have a higher FICO credit score and lower debt-to-income ratio than other lenders, but because of these requirements, it also offers some of the lowest APRs of any online lender. At the time of writing, its loans had APRs that start at just 8%.
  • Long loan terms -- Payoff is designed for short- to medium-term borrowing, with loan terms that range from 24 months (two years) to 48 months (four years). Thus, borrowers can pick a repayment term that is long enough to give them some breathing room in their budgets.
  • No hidden fees -- Payoff charges only two fees: An origination fee (0%-5% of the amount borrowed) and a $15 returned payment fee. A straightforward fee schedule makes understanding the loan and comparing it to alternatives pretty simple to do.
  • Free FICO® Scores -- If you accept a loan from Payoff, you’ll get access to a free FICO® Score that updates once per month. Having access to a true FICO® Score is a real asset, as it allows you to see the score that lenders use to make credit decisions. Most free credit scores you find online are just simulations or approximations of your true credit score.
  • Apply without harming your credit score -- While this feature isn’t unique to Payoff loans, it is invaluable. Payoff can give you a quote for a loan by doing a “soft pull,” of your credit report, which won’t show up on your credit report. Only after accepting the loan offer will Payoff verify your information with a “hard pull” of your credit report. This enables you to shop around for a low rate without having inquiries weigh down your credit score.
  • Large loan amounts -- Payoff loans can range in size from $5,000 to $35,000, which makes it a great “one stop shop” for people looking to consolidate debts of all sizes.

How you can save money with a Payoff loan

Payoff is all about paying off credit card debt. Given interest rates on Payoff loans can be much lower than the rate you pay on credit card debt, the savings can be substantial for people who can refinance their debt at a lower interest rate.

Figure Payoff loan Credit card
APR 9% 18%
Balance $5,000 $5,000
Monthly payment (three-year payoff) $159.00 $180.76
Total interest paid $723.95 $1,507.43

Data source: Author estimates and calculations.

In this scenario, we compared how much it would cost to pay off $5,000 of debt in three years based on a Payoff loan APR of 9%, and a credit card APR of 18%. The savings amount to approximately $784 over a three-year period.

Of course, you could save more or less, depending on how much you currently owe on your cards, the length of your loan term, and the difference between the APR you pay on a Payoff loan and the APR on your credit cards. As a general rule of thumb, the more you owe on your credit cards, the more you can save with a personal loan.

Is a Payoff loan right for you?

One thing I like about Payoff is that it is very clear about the types of borrowers who are most likely to get approved for one of its personal loans. If the following statements apply to you, you’re likely a good candidate to apply and get approved for a Payoff loan.

  • You have a relatively high credit score -- Payoff generally requires a FICO® Score of 640 or better, so it is best for people who have credit problems because of having too much debt, not because of numerous late payments or other major derogatory marks on your credit report.
  • You have some credit history -- Payoff says on its website that its ideal borrower has at least three years of good credit history. That could be as simple as having a credit card you have had open for three years, or a few years of good payment history on student loans or car loans. Payoff also wants borrowers who have at least two open credit accounts (two credit cards, or a credit card and a car loan, for example) in good standing.
  • You want to pay off credit card debt -- Payoff is solely interested in borrowers who want to use their loans to pay off debt. If you need a personal loan to borrow money for other uses, you’ll have to turn to other online personal loan companies.
  • You have a low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio -- Payoff says on its website that it works with borrowers who have a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less. To calculate your DTI ratio, add up your minimum monthly payments for housing (rent or mortgage), credit cards, and any other debt, and divide it by your monthly gross income. Gross income is your earnings before taxes and any deductions for retirement, healthcare, and so on.

You need more time to pay off your balances -- Personal loans are best for people who need more time to pay off credit card debt. If you have a modest amount of debt you can repay over 12 or 15 months, a 0% intro APR balance transfer credit card may be a better solution, since many cards offer a year or more of 0% intro APRs when you transfer a balance.

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